Hemingway & Faulkner English 423, Fall 2016 Dr. David Swerdlow 405 Thompson-Clark, x7345 Office Hours: MWF 11-12 and by appt.
Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner are among the United States’ most celebrated writers. Nobel laureates and icons of the modernist era, these two writers may be most known for their easily recognizable and radically different styles that surface in everything they write. In many ways, however, they are kindred spirits in terms of theme and ambition. Consider their Nobel Prize acceptance speeches. (Please note that Hemingway, because of illness, was not able to give his speech himself. It was delivered by the U.S. Ambassador to Sweden.)
Having no facility for speech-making and no command of oratory nor any domination of rhetoric, I wish to thank the administrators of the generosity of Alfred Nobel for this Prize.
No writer who knows the great writers who did not receive the Prize can accept it other than with humility. There is no need to list these writers. Everyone here may make his own list according to his knowledge and his conscience.
It would be impossible for me to ask the Ambassador of my country to read a speech in which a writer said all of the things which are in his heart. Things may not be immediately discernible in what a man writes, and in this sometimes he is fortunate; but eventually they are quite clear and by these and the degree of alchemy that he possesses he will endure or be forgotten.
Writing, at its best, is a lonely life. Organizations for writers palliate the writer's loneliness but I doubt if they improve his writing. He grows in public stature as he sheds his loneliness and often his work deteriorates. For he does his work alone and if he is a good enough writer he must face eternity, or the lack of it, each day.
For a true writer each book should be a new beginning where he tries again for something that is beyond attainment. He should always try for something that has never been done or that others have tried and failed. Then sometimes, with great luck, he will succeed.
How simple the writing of literature would be if it were only necessary to write in another way what has been well written. It is because we have had such great writers in the past that a writer is driven far out past where he can go, out to where no one can help him.
I have spoken too long for a writer. A writer should write what he has to say and not speak it. Again I thank you.»
--Ernest Hemingway, 1954
Ladies and gentlemen,
I feel that this award was not made to me as a man, but to my work - a life's work in the agony and sweat of the human spirit, not for glory and least of all for profit, but to create out of the materials of the human spirit something which did not exist before. So this award is only mine in trust. It will not be difficult to find a dedication for the money part of it commensurate with the purpose and significance of its origin. But I would like to do the same with the acclaim too, by using this moment as a pinnacle from which I might be listened to by the young men and women already dedicated to the same anguish and travail, among whom is already that one who will some day stand here where I am standing.
Our tragedy today is a general and universal physical fear so long sustained by now that we can even bear it. There are no longer problems of the spirit. There is only the question: When will I be blown up? Because of this, the young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat.
He must learn them again. He must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid; and, teaching himself that, forget it forever, leaving no room in his workshop for anything but the old verities and truths of the heart, the old universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed - love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice. Until he does so, he labors under a curse. He writes not of love but of lust, of defeats in which nobody loses anything of value, of victories without hope and, worst of all, without pity or compassion. His griefs grieve on no universal bones, leaving no scars. He writes not of the heart but of the glands.
Until he relearns these things, he will write as though he stood among and watched the end of man. I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is immortal simply because he will endure: that when the last dingdong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking.
I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet's, the writer's, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet's voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.
William Faulkner, 1949
In the weeks that follow, we will consider the thematic and stylistic choices that led to these speeches by Hemingway and Faulkner.
As an English major progressing through our curriculum, we call upon you to improve continually in your ability to demonstrate the following:
1. the ability to discuss literature, including engaging in an exchange of ideas, and offering and supporting insights.
2. the capacity to sustain controlled, critical arguments that analyze and synthesize texts.
3. an understanding of the craft of writing, including concision, diction, grammar, and syntax.
4. the ability to produce creative writing that shows an awareness of language, freedom from cliché, and an understanding of genre, style, and topic.
5. the ability to identify and use a range of sources suitable to the scholarly conversation on a particular topic, to evaluate and integrate source material, and to document accurately.
6. an understanding of the literary tradition, the historical and cultural contexts of literature, and critical methods of reading.
7. the ability to give well-planned, engaging presentations.
We will be reading the following texts:
By Ernest Hemingway
The Sun Also Rises For Whom the Bell Tolls The Old Man and the Sea
By William Faulkner
The Sound and the Fury Light in August As I Lay Dying
Over the course of the term, you will write two 8-10 page papers, give two presentations, and write one take-home final. In addition to the critical writing that you do, you will have creative writing assignments that ask you to imitate Hemingway’s and Faulkner’s styles.
In class, your active participation is required. Therefore, you must be prepared for class. You are expected to have read and considered whatever has been assigned for class. To encourage your preparation, I will give unannounced quizzes that will be considered when I assign your participation grade.
Your final grade will be based on the following assignments and percentages:
Paper 1 25 Presentation 1 10 Paper 2 25 Presentation 2 10 Creative Writing 10 Take-Home Final 10 Participation 10
Paper Format: All papers must conform to MLA rules for formatting and citation.
Late papers will not be accepted.
Attendance: You must attend all classes. More than three unexcused absences will result in the lowering of your grade by at least one full step.
Tardiness: Come to class on time. Consistent tardiness will be counted as unexcused absences.
Academic Integrity: Giving the impression that someone else’s ideas or language are your own is unacceptable. If you plagiarize knowingly, you will fail this course. Furthermore, your case will be referred to the Dean of Academic Affairs with the hope that you will be expelled.
Aug 30 Intro Sep 1 The Sun Also Rises (through Chapter 7)
Sept 6 The Sun Also Rises (finish book) Sep 8
Sep 13 “The Pedagogy of The Sun Also Rises” (Presentation/Discussion) http://muse.jhu.edu.wc-ezproxy.westminster.edu/article/224716
“Reading Around Jake's Narration: Brett Ashley and The Sun Also Rises” (Presentation/Discussion) http://muse.jhu.edu.wc-ezproxy.westminster.edu/article/175384
Sep 15 For Whom the Bell Tolls (through chapter 9)
Sep 20 no class Sep 22 For Whom the Bell Tolls (through Chapter 20)
Sep 27 For Whom the Bell Tolls (through Chapter 38) Sep 29 For Whom the Bell Tolls (finish book)
Oct 4 Oct 6 “A Matter of Love or Death: Hemingway's Developing Psychosexuality in ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’” (Presentation/Discussion) http://web.b.ebscohost.com.wc- ezproxy.westminster.edu/ehost/detail/detail?sid=b88d6cfe-f744-45a9-af5e- 9bde6d112308%40sessionmgr101&vid=0&hid=123&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3 QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#AN=509728383&db=ofm
“Reading For Whom the Bell Tolls With Barthes, Bakhtin, and Shapiro” Presentation/Discussion http://muse.jhu.edu.wc-ezproxy.westminster.edu/article/216954
Oct 11 The Sound and the Fury (section 1 – April Seventh, 1928) Oct 13 The Sound and the Fury (section 2 – June Second, 1910)
Oct 20 The Sound and the Fury (finish book)
Oct 25 Paper 1 Due Oct 27 “The Sound and the Fury: A Study in Perspective” Presentation/Discussion http://www.jstor.org.wc- ezproxy.westminster.edu/stable/pdf/459766.pdf?_=1472046449512
“’Who was the woman?’: Feminine Space and the Shaping of Identity in The Sound and the Fury” Presentation/Discussion http://web.b.ebscohost.com.wc- ezproxy.westminster.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=3b65e344-69c3-4b06- 9844-bd8d8c457f44%40sessionmgr120&vid=1&hid=123
Nov 1 Light in August (through Chapter 9) Nov 3 Light in August (through Chapter 13)
Nov 8 Light in August (through Chapter 18) Nov 10 Light in August (finish book)
Nov 15 Nov 17 "’Memory believes before knowing remembers’: The insistence of the Past and Lacan’s unconscious desire in Light in August” Presentation/Discussion http://web.a.ebscohost.com.wc- ezproxy.westminster.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=c891e5cd-c891- 4dec-abc3-fddd9d46fda8%40sessionmgr4007&vid=1&hid=4201
“Faulkner’s Mendicant Madonna: The Light of Light in August Presentation/Discussion http://web.a.ebscohost.com.wc- ezproxy.westminster.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=c891e5cd-c891- 4dec-abc3-fddd9d46fda8%40sessionmgr4007&vid=1&hid=4201
Nov 22 The Old Man and the Sea (Complete Novel)
Nov 29 As I Lay Dying (first third) Paper 2 Due Dec 1 As I Lay Dying (second third
Dec 6 As I Lay Dying (finish) Dec 8 Take Home Final Essay Assigned